Since I’m keeping my running to shorter distances, I’m checking out local races that are shorter than I am accustomed to running. Trailhead Running has a women’s only trail series and I took a DNS on the half marathon. This year I decided to try out the first race and hoped for good weather since I recalled it raining the day before the race last year.
The starts at Austin Ridge Church and I was impressed with the venue and the technical trails right behind the church. Race organization was superb – parking and bib pick up were a breeze and the course was extremely well-marked with volunteers at various points of the course. Trailhead Running promotes leaving no trace behind and that was evident in the course being cupless and their having reusable bibs (that’s a first for me!).
I lined up near the front but had no desire to run fast given the course conditions – wet and slippery. About a half mile in, I went the wrong way for a couple of steps and, by the time, I turned around, a bunch of runners were in front of me. Seeing how rocky and slick the course was, I decided to hang back and run slowly. I did regret that when I found climbing slow harder but felt it was a good thing for the first loop given my knack for twisting ankles. The hill advertised in the race description was extremely technical and more challenging that I expected and the descent was super slick– thank goodness they actually marked one of the downward sloping slick rocks with an X.
The 8k was two loops of the main course and I decided to pick up the pace and pass people on the wider sections. The race directors had reminded us that the finish was uphill and to save something for that. My legs are used to uphills from CA and our neighborhood and I used the final stretches to pick up the pace. After crossing the finish line, I received a commemorative pint glass as a finisher’s “medal.”
Overall, I was impressed with the race and loved the atmosphere. Post-race food selections was fantastic for any race but especially for a small trail race. I will definitely run another one of their races!